Sunrisers beat RCB in IPL opener


Yuvraj Singh took centre stage in the opening match of VIVO IPL 2017 as he scored his first half-century for Sunrisers Hyderabad and helped the team to a daunting 207-4. In the second half of the match, the defending champions bowled out their opponents Royal Challengers Bangalore to win the season opener by 35 runs.

Put into bat, Yuvraj got Sunrisers lost their captain David Warner in the second over of the innings. But Shikhar Dhawan and one-drop Moises Henriques continued to put the RCB bowlers to the sword. In the final over before the field restrictions were relaxed, Dhawan got stuck into Shane Watson and hit him for four boundaries; SRH were 59-1 at the end of the six overs.

The SRH second wicket pair extended their association to 74 before Dhawan holed out to long-on in the eleventh over; the left-hander made 40 from 31 balls. In walked Yuvraj Singh and struck the first couple of balls crisply, signaling sign of things to come. In the twelfth over, he whipped one through midwicket; that particular stroke was all wrist-work and had class written all over it.

In the 13th over, Yuvraj got stuck into debutant Aniket Choudhary, hitting the left-arm seamer’s first three deliveries for 4, 6 & 4. Yuvraj was offered a reprieve in the same over when Sreenath Arvind grassed a regulation chance at the square-leg boundary. As if to rub salt into wounds, Yuvraj hit Arvind for two sixes and a boundary in the fifteenth.

The southpaw brought up his half-century in the 18th, needing only 23 deliveries to get to the milestone; it was Yuvraj’s first half-century for SRH and his first in the IPL since May 2015. The left-hander was dismissed in the following over when he missed a straight delivery from Mills; Yuvraj made 62 from 27 balls, and his knock was studded with seven fours and three sixes.

Henriques kept himself busy at the crease and played a good supporting hand to an on-song Yuvraj; the Australian, playing his 150th T20 match, made 52 from 37 balls before he was dismissed in the 16th over. Ben Cutting hit Watson for two sixes in the final over to help the innings finish with a flourish.

For RCB, YuzvendraChahal was the pick of the bowlers; where the rest of the attack conceded 184 runs in 16 overs, the leg-spinner finished with incredible figures of 1-22 from his four overs. The two debutants – Tymal Mills and Aniket – finished with figures of 1-31 and 1-55 respectively.

RCB, without Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in this match, began briskly in pursuit of 208. The new opening pair of Chris Gayle and Mandeep Singh added 52 runs for the opening wicket. The Jamaican struck two boundaries and three sixes in his 21-ball 32, while Mandeep made 24 from 16 balls. However, both batsmen were dismissed in successive overs – in the sixth and seventh – and that meant RCB had two new men at the crease.

Travis Head and Kedar Jadhav, batting at three and four, kept themselves busy at the crease and picked up boundaries every time a loose delivery was dished out. The pair added 56 runs in 5.1 overs before Ben Cutting’s rocket throw from the fine leg boundary caught Jadhav (31 from 16 balls) short of the crease at the striker’s end. Travis Head perished in the following over, becoming debutant Rashid Khan’s second victim of the night. Yet again, RCB had two fresh batsmen at the crease, and SRH steadily tightened their grip on the match. RCB were eventually bowled out for 172 in 19.4 overs.

For the defending champions, the quicks were at the receiving end early on and it needed the spinners to apply the brakes on the run-chase. Rashid Khan – the first Afghanistan cricketer to play in the IPL –gave the team the first breakthrough and eventually finished with figures of 2-36, while Deepak Hooda (who dismissed Gayle) and Bipul Sharma chipped in with a wicket apiece. In the final five overs, Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned to dismiss Stuart Binny and Mills, while Ashish Nehra saw the back of Watson and Arvind off consecutive deliveries. (IPLT20)

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